Despite the gradual lifting of COVID restrictions around the world, the comfort of shopping online is here to stay. As that growth quantifies itself in second quarter results, Russian e-commerce players are responding with greater product offerings and enhanced logistics and delivery.
Ozon, a leading Russian e-commerce platform, offers a vast assortment of goods with delivery times as quick as one hour. In the second quarter of 2021, Ozon saw its number of orders increase by 180% year-on-year to 40.9 million, up from 14.6 million orders during the same period last year. On the back of strong results, Ozon raised its forecast for gross merchandise volume to 110% for the full year as it targets a third of the country’s e-commerce market by 2026.
Ozon is also expanding its operations to make its marketplace more accessible to customers and sellers in neighboring countries. In August, Ozon began delivering orders to 2,000 post offices around Kazakhstan through a partnership with Kazpost that will increase the total number of Ozon pickup points in the country nearly 20-fold. This follows on a logistics expansion in Belarus to speed up order processing and delivery to local customers. In both countries, the company is working to expand services for local businesses to bring more of their products to the platform.
Ozon is already notable for its express delivery service, which offers thousands of items delivered within an hour to customers in Moscow, the Moscow region and St. Petersburg. Ozon Express saw 500% growth in the second quarter and the company plans to expand the service to other regions in Russia.
Another e-commerce player that has seen strong demand is M.Video-Eldorado Group, the largest Russian consumer electronics retailer. M.Video had a 22% revenue boost in the second quarter with sales jumping by 48.8%, on the back of the rollout of its OneRetail platform offering a hybrid on- and offline shopping experience. The company has additionally introduced AI video analytics in its stores to better assist customers, underscoring the continued importance of physical locations to retailers’ broader logistics networks.
E-commerce is here to stay – and the pandemic has accelerated the shift, which has made a significant and lasting impact. M.Video shares are up over 18% over the past year, while Ozon shares are up over 25%.
So why venture out into the stores when shopping is possible from the comfort of home? Quarterly numbers show that more and more consumers are making this a rhetorical question rather than a real one.
The industry response of delivering better logistics and service only supports the notion of greater and greater future use. The pandemic has caused all retailers to adapt, but those setting up for the online shift are looking to pull further ahead.